this is the story of how we begin to remember
Since I am a writer, whenever things happen people always suggest I write about them. But there are things that are impossible for me to write about. Things that can not be put words. A few years ago my family asked me to write my grandfather's eulogy. I couldn't attend his funeral so I was asked to write something for someone else to read. I did. It took me a whole day to come with two paragraphs. Whatever I wrote must have been awful. There were simply no words to express what I felt and how much I missed him already. I've been reminded that feeling when the shooting happened in Tucson. My city. My home.
I was in the Safeway shopping center when it happened. I was having coffee with a woman, Myra, that I'd first met person only ten minutes earlier. We were talking preschools and books (she happens to be a writer, too) and I had no idea that the very same time Mrs. Giffords was having event outside. Even though we were probably only about fifty feet , it was loud enough inside the bakery that we did not hear the gunshots. We didn't see it either, since the cars in the parking lot blocked our view. My first clue that something was not right was when I saw a police car pull the shopping center, lights flashing, cops jumping out and pulling things out of the trunk. Within a few minutes it was followed four or five others.
Myra and I made some nervous guesses. Was there a traffic stop? Could there have been a robbery? Then a man in bike-riding gear ran and yelled, "There's a shooter in the Safeway." We looked at each other. I suggested that we leave. We talked it over for a minute. Myra wasn't all worried, but I insisted that we get the hell out of there. Fast. My car was right out . Hers was in the parking lot. We ran to my car, and got in quickly. we were safely on our way, we figured it probably wasn't anything serious, that we were silly to leave such a rush.
Ten minutes later we were sipping coffee in another quiet shopping center. I still felt shaky, even before a woman came in and told everyone what happened. This time Myra and I stared at each other in disbelief. Neither of us said anything for a while. We finished our coffees, stood up, hugged and went our separate ways. Even now I have very little memory of we talked about or how I got home. All I know is that when I did get home, my brain was still numb. Maybe it's a good thing, maybe that's what a brain does when it doesn't want you to think.